(LAS VEGAS, KXNT)–Around here, it ain’t springtime until Mohave Max says so.

The desert tortoise emerged from his burrow in the Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area at 4:10pm Monday afternoon, the unofficial sign that Spring has begun in southern Nevada.

According to Clark County officials, like other reptiles in the region,  Max enters a burrow to brumate (the reptilian form of hibernation) every winter and emerges every spring. Warmer temperatures, longer daylight hours and an internal clock are factors known to contribute to his emergence every year. Indeed, the temperature hit 82 degrees in Las Vegas on the day Max emerged.

As part of the 15th annual Mojave Max Emergence Contest, students have been studying Mojave Desert weather, temperatures and conditions to scientifically estimate when they believed Mojave Max would emerge from his burrow in 2014.  They entered their guesses online at www.mojavemax.com.

The entries are being tabulated and the official winner of the Mojave Max Emergence Contest will be announced soon.  The winning student will receive prizes including an “America the Beautiful” year-long pass to federally managed fee areas, a laptop computer and a digital camera.  The winner’s entire class will receive a field trip, with a pizza party, to Mojave Max’s habitat, Mojave Max Olympic-style medals and T-shirts, while the winner’s teacher will receive a laptop computer.

“Through the years, Mojave Max has helped teach thousands of school children how to respect, protect and enjoy the desert ecosystem around us,” Commission Chair Steve Sisolak said. “Today, Mojave Max once again crawled out of his burrow after a long brumation, marking the unofficial beginning of spring in Clark County.”

The latest Mojave Max has come out of his burrow was April 17th, when he did so in 2012. The earliest he has emerged is Feb. 14th in 2005. The Emergence Contest has taken place every year since 2000.



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